Feature: Celebrating the Class of 2022

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is celebrating the Class of 2022. Meet four new graduates who share their unique journeys and reflect on their experience at the School.

Amrit BhogalAmrit Bhogal, DDS’22 


Amrit Bhogal, Dentistry Class of 2022, says that the word that epitomizes his experience during the past four years is growth.

“I would describe my acceptance into dental school as a tipping point from which I believe I have grown exponentially. Western, and by extension Schulich Dentistry, have transformed my decision-making and problem-solving abilities. Collectively, the breadth of experience, engaged professors, and ambitious classmates made for an environment conducive to self development,” he said. 

Part of that growth for Bhogal was understanding the importance of failure. It was through an unsatisfactory result in a second-year practical exam, that he became more accepting of failures in general. He realized that failure should be seen as an opportunity to learn and to accept that it does not define you.

He’s equally proud of this self-acceptance as he is of how he fostered community within his class.

“In my four years, I made it an imperative to get to know each classmate less superficially. To learn more about their personal lives, and probe curiously into their life beyond school, work and career. In doing so, my hope was to establish stronger bonds among classmates. I felt this would help foster a robust sense of togetherness; giving classmates solace in knowing that they have a place to turn in the hard times, a place to be vulnerable,“ he said.

As he plans for his future, Bhogal says he will take with him a commitment to and enthusiasm for life-long learning.

“University provides an unparalleled environment for learning; a plethora of like-minded people, cutting-edge research and courses to explore. My plan is to capitalize on my intrinsic curiosity and seek out learning opportunities more deliberately.”

Aisha FreemanAisha Freeman, PhD’22


As she officially graduates with a PhD in Biochemistry this month, it’s the people Aisha Freeman says she’ll miss the most.  

“Western has incredible faculty and staff. There were many casual conversations that led to greater strides in my own research as well as for others. I will miss the friends I made along the way; their support kept me going.”

Taking an unusual path to her PhD, Freeman initially trained as a software engineer and worked for digital agencies for several years to design and develop websites and e-commerce solutions. 

Wanting to help people in a more meaningful way, she returned to school, completing an undergraduate degree in forensic science at Trent University. Learning that scientists are still working to understand the causes of neurodegenerative diseases, she was inspired to pursue research.

For her PhD studies at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, she worked with Gary Shaw, PhD, to investigate the molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease. She was awarded a prestigious Canada Graduate Scholarship and published an important paper examining the proteins involved in early onset Parkinson’s.

Part of the Biochemistry Graduate Student Association, Freeman drew on her private sector experience to organize professional developments sessions to get her peers thinking about their future goals and how to accomplish them.

She reflects on her experience at the School with an appreciation for the lessons she learned about herself. “I learned that I have tenacity, talent and passion, and I can accomplish great things if given the chance – and I was given that chance in graduate school. I hope to repay the favour one day.” 

Isabelle KengIsabelle Keng, BMSc’22


Isabelle Keng, Bachelor of Medical Sciences, Class of 2022 says that the word that best describes her experience during the past four years is eye-opening.

“During my studies, I learned more about who I wanted to be as a person,” Keng said.

Admittedly fixated on career goals when she started her undergraduate program, she believes that her experiences at Western provided her the opportunity to grow as a person.

“Learning more about who I want to be outside of work and what I hope to contribute to my family, friends and community is the most important thing I learned during the past four years.”

Part of that learning came as a result of an international internship Keng completed during the summer after her first year. It was the first time she had travelled alone, and she was somewhat weary about living alone in a foreign country. She powered through, and today believes she is a stronger and more independent person because of it.

The experience also motivated her to get involved as an International Learning Ambassador at Western. In her role, and with additional training, she was able to use her own experiences to assist students in navigating unknown territory so they could achieve success and enjoy their time at the University.

Keng’s personal experience growing up in a family new to Canada, inspired her to further worked as an English Conversation Facilitator.

“I understand the joys and difficulties that come with navigating multiple cultures and languages. I wanted to work with student who were looking to improve their conversational English skills and learn more about Canada and Western’s culture,” she said. “A University is place where people make friends, learn and grow as a person, all of which becomes more difficult when there is a language and cultural barrier. I hope that during my time as a facilitator, I helped students feel more comfortable living their everyday lives.”

David ZhengDavid Zheng, MD’22


Graduating as a member of the Medicine Class of 2022, this is how David Zheng describes his medical school experience.

“In my colleagues, I see qualities of leadership, advocacy, and altruism that I aspire to uphold in my own future practice. I’m proud to say that I am a part of this cohort, and I’m excited to be able to work with these same colleagues in the future.”

During his medical studies, Zheng played piano at local long-term care homes. At the onset of the pandemic and public health restrictions, these in-person performances were put on hold. Recognizing the disproportionate impact that social isolation would have on seniors, he connected fellow classmates and student volunteers with residents of long-term care homes across Canada to provide virtual social visits via video calls. These interactions included musical performances, paint nights, health promotion presentations and conversations in different languages.

Now registered as a federal non-profit, the organization has connected with more than 1,000 long-term care residents in Canada.

“I’m particularly proud of this initiative as it has given me an appreciation of the potential we each have to translate an idea into tangible impact with determination and teamwork.”  

Zheng was also involved with the University of Western Ontario Medical Journal, serving as co-editor-in-chief this year, and participated as a member of the School’s Student Support Team. In this role, he helped launch a cooking club called “Schulich Cooks” and organized wellness events to support pre-clerkship medical students.  

He says he is inspired by his parents, who emigrated from China and built a successful dental practice in the London community while learning a new language and raising two children.

He is also grateful for the collegial environment at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.   

“I’m thankful for my time at the School and for the opportunity to be able to meet so many inspiring and talented peers and mentors. There’s truly a culture of support and of lifting each other up which I aim to continue in residency. I will no doubt miss the friendships made and experiences shared during medical school, from intramural ultimate frisbee to class trips to many new first days on rotations.”